There’s two things you need to know about Onna no Ko no Naisho Hanashi (女の子のないしょの話):
1) Hakamada Mera’s name has been attached to this book in the way that Stan Lee’s name is attached to ULTIMO, or Courtney Love’s name was attached to Princess Ai. Yes, she does have a single page in the book. Stan Lee appears in ULTIMO too, but you gotta take the name with a grain of salt.
2) Of the three words on the obi, “Love? Lily? Lesbian?” only two are actually related to the contents and then, only tangentially.
Knowing these facts will not make this book better, but it will temper your expectations.
The translation of the title is presented as Girl’s Private Talk and, just as it sounds, you are going to get ingenuous wide-eyed-ness over not-quite-really-Yuri situations that are presented as memories of youth by the various mangaka. It feels exactly like those cheap little sex magazines sold from under the counters of convenience stores across the nation that were written as if they were personal memoirs and letters but were clearly written by one sad college student with a paucity of imagination…without the sex.
Every story starts with something like this, “Oh, when I was in school there were these two girls who were really close…” and the story unfolds with them maybe being something sort of like a couple, or almost kissing, but not really.
A few of the stories get close to situations that might have become awkward if, say, the two protagonists were left alone in the room for another ten minutes, but they never are and kisses are few and far between in this collection.
This is a book of not-quite-even-Story A: There is a girl. There is another girl. They might like each other, but nothing will come of it…probably.
If what you love best about Yuri is the tense moments *before* the relationship is a thing, or you love ingenuous glimpses behind that girl’s school curtain, then this is the book for you.
Overall – 3 For all these stories are short, almost none of them managed to keep my attention.